People's Counsel

Creation of the People's Counsel
In April 1976, the County Council introduced legislation in the form of a Charter amendment providing the authority to establish the position of People's Counsel and the People's Counsel Citizens Advisory Board.

At that time, commercial and residential development was rapidly moving throughout the County and the Council felt many citizens and communities did not have the means or money to present organized opposition to the development. Although this bill was vetoed by then County Executive Charles Anderson, the County Council overrode the veto, and Bill No. 76-35 was approved by a majority of the voters at the general election in November 1976.

Duties & Responsibilities
Subsequently, the County Council introduced Bill No. 76-103, which set forth the powers, duties and responsibilities of People's Counsel. The intent of the County Council was to employ an attorney to "represent the interests of the public in all matters and proceedings preliminary to, arising out of, or affecting the zoning classification or reclassification of land in the county."

An important provision of this bill gave authority to People's Counsel to be "free to make an independent determination as to the matters and proceedings in which he shall participate and the conduct of the affairs of his position in performing his duties and functions."